Samsung’s big Unpacked event has come and gone. At 7:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the company began announcing its latest suite of smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets. We saw the newest iterations of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, the new Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, as well as the new Galaxy T9 lineup. While most of what’s new is pretty iterative, there are a lot of impressive improvements and features to dive into.
Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5
As is the norm for tech in 2023, Samsung’s top announcements concerned smartphones, specifically its line of foldable devices—the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5.
As highlighted by Marques Brownlee, however, these two new foldables aren’t much different than their predecessors, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4. In fact, it might be tricky to tell them apart at first. But there are some key changes that, while perhaps not worth the upgrade from the 4 to the 5, are enticing for owners of older Samsung foldables, and represent a step in the right general direction.
The Flip 5 gets the most obvious change this year with the introduction of the “Flex Window,” a 3.4-inch display on the front of the device. This new screen is much larger than the front-facing screens on previous Flip devices, so you might actually get some use out of it. It isn’t a uniform shape, however, to account for the two front-facing cameras, which means you’ll need to wait for developers to optimize their apps to fit the window before you can use them here. For now, you can treat it like a Galaxy Watch screen, swiping down for Quick Settings, right for notifications, and left for widgets.
One immediate benefit to the Flex Window: more convenient selfies. The Flip series was already a great selfie machine, since you could fold it up to serve as its own tripod and take a shot using the camera on the inner screen. With the Flex Window, however, you can take a selfie with the phone folded up. You can also let the phone pick the best angle for group shots: just set it down, back up, and take the picture.
Samsung has also redesigned the hinge for both the Z Flip and Z Fold, allowing the phone to fold perfectly flat for the first time. Previous versions featured a gap, which could allow dust to accumulate. More than that, the hinge is stronger, which makes it easier to position the screen at the angle you want.
The other big changes are on the inside: Both the Fold 5 and Flip 5 are running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, which, like all iterative upgrades, should result in a faster, more efficient experience. Both phones also now start at 258GB of storage, rather than 128GB.
Samsung is launching the two foldables on August 14. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 starts at AU$ 1,649, while the Galaxy Z Fold 5 start at AU$ 2,599:
Samsung introduced the Galaxy Watch 6 by focusing first on its health abilities: There are upgrades to heart tracking, including a new irregular heart rhythm notification and a personalized heart rate zone; and new sleep features, including sleep score factor, sleep analysis, and sleep coaching.
The watch now comes in 44mm and 40mm size options, representing a 20 per cent size increase, with a screen that brightens up to 2,000 nits. There are also new watch faces and bands to customize your look.
Samsung is also giving the Galaxy Watch the “classic” treatment with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, which comes with a rotating bezel for selecting elements on-screen. It’s a wholly unique smartwatch experience when compared to other devices like Pixel Watch or Apple Watch.
Like the foldables, these watches launch on August 14. The Galaxy Watch 6 starts at $549, while the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic starts at $699.
Tab S9, S9+, and S9 Ultra
For its tablet series, Samsung announced the Tab S9, S9+, and S9 Ultra. All three Tab S9s are powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC you’ll find in the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, and feature Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays, an IP68-rated S Pen, and an IP68-rating on the tablets themselves.
The Tab S9 Ultra is the one to watch. It’s massive, with a 14.6-inch display. (I thought my 12.9-inch iPad was huge.) It also comes with up to 16GB of memory, while the S9+ comes with 12GB and the S9 comes with 8GB.
The offerings differ when it comes to their cameras as well: The S9 comes with one 13-megapixel rear camera and a 12-megapixel selfie camera, while the S9+ has a second rear camera (the extra being an 8-megapixel ultra-wide). The S9 Ultra has those same rear cameras plus two 12-megapixel selfie cams.
The larger your tablet, the more internal storage you can get: The S9 comes with up to 256GB, the S9+ has up to 512GB, and the S9 Ultra bumps that up to 1TB. However, all three support microSD cards, so you can expand your storage by up to an extra 1TB beyond that.
The whole series will be available starting August 14, in a range of starting prices. The Tab S9 starts at AU$ 1,299, while the Tab S9+ starts at AU$ 16,99, and the Tab S9 Ultra starts at AU $1,999.